Eric P. Widing
As Deputy Chairman and previous head of our American Paintings Department, Eric Widing has worked at Christie’s for over twenty years. His interest in art started early, when at the age of eleven he purchased his first art book, an exhibition catalogue of the paintings of Andrew Wyeth. Prior to joining Christie’s, Mr. Widing worked for seventeen years as a dealer in American Art, including eleven years as the director of the Richard York Gallery. Subsequently he established his own gallery, Widing & Peck Fine Art, on East 66th Street. His gallery represented the estate of George Bellows and handled important American art from 1750 to 1950. In all, Mr. Widing has devoted 38 years to the American art business.
Mr. Widing’s responsibilities as Deputy Chairman focus primarily on the American Paintings Department. Additionally, he works closely with colleagues across Christie’s many business categories.
During his tenure, Christie's American Paintings became a market leader in the field, establishing new world records for hundreds of artists in virtually every category of American art. In 2018, among major collections managed by Mr. Widing and the Christie’s team was the Collection of David and Peggy Rockefeller, which achieved $114,000,000 for its American art alone – a record immediately succeeded by the sale of American art from the Barney A. Ebsworth Collection, which achieved $323,103,500. Among the Ebsworth highlights was Hopper’s Chop Suey, which sold for $91,875,000, becoming the most expensive pre-war American artwork ever sold at auction. Private sales also continue to play a major role in American art at Christie’s, encompassing both the sale of individual artworks and entire collections, often led by Mr. Widing. Perhaps most notably, he was one of the team of two which sold Thomas Eakins’ The Gross Clinic in 2006 for $68,000,000, the highest private sale price ever achieved for a work of art in his field.
A recognized authority on American painting and sculpture, Mr. Widing has been quoted in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Antiques and the Arts Weekly, Art + Auction, Architectural Digest, Town & Country, The Art Newsletter, The Maine Antiques Digest, The Huffington Post and numerous other newspapers and magazines. Mr. Widing has been interviewed by National Public Radio and has appeared on Bloomberg TV. He continues to be a frequent source of information on the American field. Mr. Widing has also lectured widely at museums across the country and on occasion to university students. He is a graduate of Williams College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded the Karl E. Weston prize for his senior thesis in Art History.